Cardiologist wins unfair dismissal case against NHS Trust

An employment tribunal has ruled that a heart specialist was unfairly dismissed after he raised concerns about a hospital’s failings which led to a patient’s death, including staffing shortages, workplace bullying and ‘appalling’ equipment.

Consultant cardiologist Dr Kevin Beatt has now won a two-year legal battle with Croydon Health Services NHS Trust following his sacking in September 2012 in what he claimed was a cover-up by the hospital to hide its shortcomings.

Between 2008 and his dismissal, the doctor had raised a large number of concerns which also included the failure to properly investigate serious incidents. In early 2010 he expressed his fear to the hospital’s medical director that the cardiology unit's radiation equipment which at that time was the oldest in use in the country, was putting patients and staff at risk.

Dr Beatt was accused of making up his concerns in order to treat patients elsewhere. However, six months later the machinery broke down during an operation, leading to it being condemned and replaced.

Some 18 months later, a 63 year old patient who was having a routine operation died after a senior nurse was suspended just before, without Dr Beatt's knowledge. This left him without a nurse with even basic familiarity with the operation for a full 20 minutes, which contributed to the patient’s death.

Following further complaints by the doctor at this time, the trust claimed he was trying to get the suspended nurse reinstated, and subsequently began disciplinary proceedings leading to his sacking.

The tribunal found there was 'no evidence' of an ulterior motive and said that 'extremely damaging' and 'entirely false' allegations had been made against him during an investigation into the patient’s death.

If you or someone you know has been unfairly treated at work, please contact employment law specialists Ashley Hunt, Carrie-Ann Randall, Vaishali Thakerar or Alex Reid at Lawson-West on 0116 212 1000.

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